Was Chip allowed to remove the rake? And does he have to play from the bunker, or can he replace his ball?
The rake is artificial and therefore a “movable obstruction.” These may be removed everywhere. If the ball moves as a result, the ball must be put back without penalty. Therefore, Chip isn’t just permitted to replace his ball on its original spot, he has to replace it. Rule 15.2a(1) and definition “Movable Obstruction.”
Is it permissible to change a rule in match play if both players agree to it?
If players agree to change or ignore a rule they know applies, they’re disqualified. This is valid in both stroke play and match play. Rules 1.3b(1) and 3.2d(4).
May Tom drop his ball outside the bunker when taking unplayable ball relief back on the line?
Yes. There are four dropping options when declaring a ball unplayable in a bunker. Dropping back on the line is possible inside as well as outside of the bunker. If the ball is dropped inside the bunker, the penalty is 1 stroke whereas if dropped outside of the bunker, the penalty is 2 strokes. Rule 19.3.
The "Golf Rules Cartoons with Tom & Chip" are also available as a book. All official rules of golf from 1-24 are explained in an easy-to-understand way in 80 amusing cartoons. With the rules effective 2023-2026.
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